Bud Etzold knew it was time.
Not for anything that happened last season or the previous year. After 30-plus years of coaching football, the stresses and rigors of the heading up a college football program, "accumulated."
So on Tuesday, Etzold, who went 43-45 in two stints as Jamestown College's football coach, stepped away from the sideline - this time almost certainly for good.
"There comes a time in life as a coach where the lows outweigh the highs and the losses are tougher to deal with than the excitement of winning," he said. "You do something you love for as long as I've done it and it's tough to come to the realization that it is time to move on. But I'm at that point in my life and I'm ready to move on to something else."
Etzold's 43 wins are the third-most of any coach in program history. Only Rollie Greeno (154) and E.J. Cassell (65) had more. He led the Jimmies from 1995-1999, then returned in 2008 to guide the Jimmies for four more seasons.
Etzold, who turns 60 years old in a couple months led the program to two of its greatest seasons. In 1997, the Jimmies advanced all the way to the NAIA quarterfinals. In that season, they defeated powerhouses Sioux Falls and Carroll College in consecutive weeks. In 1998, the Jimmies climbed all the way to No. 1 in the poll and finished 8-2.
"I've had the great fortune of working with a lot of outstanding coaches and great student-athletes in my career, and that truly is why we do this," said the always personable Etzold.
Jamestown College athletic director Lawrie Paulson said Etzold's contributions are undisputed.
"Every decision Bud made relative to the football program was based upon what he thought was in the best interests of Jamestown College and our students," Paulson said. "Bud did all he could to win every game, but his commitment to his team went way beyond Saturday afternoons. He wanted everyone in his program to be successful in life. Ultimately, that's what we are here to do."
The search for a replacement is already underway. Shawn Frank, who has been on staff for 10 seasons, is a candidate for the position.
Right now is a critical time in recruiting, but they also have to make the best decision possible.
"There is a sense of urgency to retain someone quickly, but the overwhelming factor, whether it takes a day, a month or a month and a half, is that we find someone that will do things the way we want it to be done," Paulson said. "It has to be the right fit, both for the college and for the person that is ultimately hired."
Whoever gets the job has some obstacles to clear. The Jimmies currently do not have a conference and finding 10 games to fill out the schedule was one of many challenges that had worn on Etzold. But the 1978 Dickinson State graduate said the decision was solely his.
"Nobody's job is perfect and there are always things that you wish were different, but that's not the impetus behind this at all," Etzold said. "This is a big job, and it takes someone with not only the knowledge and the understanding of what it takes to be successful, but the energy to make it happen."
Don't be surprised to see the former coach at Rollie Greeno Field on Saturdays. He's staying in Jamestown and will be selling cars at RM Stoudt in the near future.
"I have great affection for that college. I truly loved my time there," he said. "The difference now on Saturday mornings is that I'll be able to go play 18 holes of golf then go to the game, sit in the stands and complain about the officiating like everybody else. ... There won't be any bigger Jimmie fan than me."
Courtesy of Dave Selvig, Jamestown Sun